Award-Winning Innovation

What You Should Know About The Most Innovative University in Africa

A few days ago Fast Company, one of America’s largest business print and digital publications, announced the world’s 50 most innovative businesses for 2019.

We are thrilled to see that the African Leadership University – with its very own campus in Kigali – is Africa’s #1 most impactful business for reimagining education. What’s more, ALU ranks 39th in the world among colossal brands such as NBA, The Walt Disney, Alibaba, and Apple.

Here’s what you need to know about the university of the future.

5 Facts about African Leadership University: Creating Africa’s leaders of tomorrow

The founder

Fred Swaniker is a cosmopolitan, Ghanaian-born entrepreneur, who in 2010 and 2013 caught US President Obama’s attention for his contribution in nurturing Africa’s leaders of tomorrow.

Stanford Business School-graduate and McKinsey consultant, Mr. Swaniker couldn’t observe Africa’s billion-plus youth becoming the victim of the world’s biggest brain-drain to Europe and the United States without acting.

So, with his tremendously entrepreneurial mind, and relentless passion for boosting Africa’s confidence and unleashing its potential, he built a custom-made higher education institution in and for Africa.

Fred Swaniker, founder & Executive Chairman ALA
African Leadership University

The model

The African Leadership University doesn’t try to catch up with the resources and fame of long-standing institutions in other parts of the world. On the contrary, ALU focuses on Africa’s talent pool and the continent’s challenges and opportunities in healthcare, education, conservation, governance, and urbanization. The curriculum isn’t based on traditional academic majors but asks students to pinpoint a real-world issue, study it, and put forward their proposals to resolve it in an innovative and sustainable manner. During their three and four-year-long studies, students are at the centre of the educational process through online and peer-to-peer learning, whereas the faculty facilitates modules on critical thinking, leadership, communication, and data analysis.

ALU Rwanda Campus in Kigali Heights, Kigali


The African Leadership University is part of the African Leadership Group, founded by Fred Swaniker to induce good leadership on the continent and transform Africa by 2060. Witnessing 80% of African Leadership Academy’s two-year diploma graduates leaving Africa to enroll into higher education, in 2015, Fred founded the first ALU in Mauritius. Only two years later, the second ALU campus opened in Kigali. Today, the two campuses count 1,200 students overall. Also, the Kigali campus hosts an MBA pan-African programme for working professionals with an emphasis on networking, as well as The School of Wildlife Conservation.

Guaranteed career development

ALU students start setting up their career from the beginning of their studies, as practical work experience is at the core of ALU’s commitments. During each year of study, students qualify for a four-month internship with a company of their choice. So far, ALU’s talented undergraduates have interned across Africa, and in China, the US, and Europe in various sectors such as consulting, healthcare, education, and telecommunications.  

Growth of a leadership ecosystem

Swaniker’s vision to transform Africa certainly didn’t stop at African Leadership Academy or ended with the African Leadership University. ALX is the latest addition to the family, offering six-month courses to candidates who hold a college degree but lack the marketable or leadership skills to progress their career. The first ALX hub operates in Nairobi, and new ALX locations are under discussion.  

All image credits: African Leadership University

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